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President Obama said Saturday that he believed that the chances of a final, comprehensive nuclear agreement being struck with Iran are less than 50-50.
However, Obama defended the interim deal struck between the U.S., Iran, and five other world powers last month in Geneva, saying that diplomacy had to be tested as a solution to the crisis and was the best way to prevent Tehran from acquiring automatic weapons.
“If you ask me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state … I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50-50,” Obama said. “But we have to try.”
Obama made the remarks via webcast to a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The think tank was hosting a forum on U.S.-Israel relations that was broadcast live on Israeli television and many Israeli analysts viewed the President’s appearance as an effort to patch over public differences with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The president’s remark was startling. Obama has tried to allay the fears of many Israelis and some Americans that his administration last month promised to ease economic pressure too much in return for too few Iranian concessions.
The comment nevertheless pointed to the difficult talks that await as the U.S. and its negotiating partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — work toward a final pact next year. The goal is to eliminate the possibility of Iran assembling a nuclear arsenal, even if any deal might let Iran continue enriching uranium at lower levels not easily convertible into weapons-grade material.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who opened his address to the forum with a discussion of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, echoed Obama’s skepticism of Iran when he said,” As we enter negotiations for a final, comprehensive agreement, we absolutely do so with our eyes wide open, and, as yet, I have to say, unconvinced that Iran will absolutely make all the decisions, the hard decisions necessary to reach such an agreement.”
Obama said the six-month interim agreement halts and rolls back central elements of Iran’s nuclear program, compelling Tehran to eliminate higher-enriched uranium stockpiles, stop adding new centrifuges and cease work at a heavy water reactor that potentially could produce plutonium. It also provides time to see if the crisis can be averted through negotiation.
“If at the end of six months it turns out we can’t make a deal,” Obama said, “we are no worse off.” U.S. sanctions against Iran will be fully reinstated and even tightened if Iran fails to uphold the agreement, he pledged.
Netanyahu has called the nuclear agreement in Geneva the “deal of the century” for Iran. In an appearance Friday at the same forum, his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, repeated Israel’s objections.
Obama acknowledged some “significant tactical disagreements” with Netanyahu, but said U.S. and Israeli bottom-line goals were the same. Netanyahu was on the agenda to speak to the forum Sunday.
Beyond Israel, Sunni Arab countries have expressed concerns about what America’s Iran engagement might mean for the balance of power in the region with Shiite-dominate Iran. Saudi Arabian officials even have talked about their own potential nuclear ambitions.
Echoing Obama’s effort to reach out to concerned allies, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel renewed a U.S. push for the sale of missile defense technology and other weapons systems to U.S.-friendly Gulf nations to counter the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles.
In a speech Saturday in Bahrain, Hagel made clear that any final deal on Iran’s nuclear program wouldn’t end the threat posed by a country the U.S. considers the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
On Mideast peace hopes, Obama echoed an optimistic assessment provided by Kerry during a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories this past week.
The president said his administration had spent much time working with Netanyahu to understand Israel’s security needs as part of any two-state solution.
“I think it is possible over the next several months to arrive at a framework that does not address every single detail but gets us to the point where everybody recognizes it’s better to move forward than move backward,” Obama said.
Still, he said tough decisions await both sides, including the Palestinians’ understanding that a transition period will be necessary so no situation arises similar to Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip after Israel’s 2005 military pullout.
“The Israeli people can’t expect a replica of Gaza in the West Bank,” Obama said. “That is unacceptable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
The mood was somber after a screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” in London on Thursday, as the attendees—who included Prince William and Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi — were informed of the former South African president’s death.
“Zindzi learned about [her father’s death] minutes before the screening actually took place,” Us Weekly film reporter Charles Thorp told FOX411. “They asked her if she wanted to go through with the screening and she said [yes] because she believes it’s an accurate portrayal [of his life].”
Thorp, who has written extensively about the film, said Mandela’s family, as well as the actors in the film, were pleased with how accurately the movie depicted the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
So for those who aren’t familiar with Mandela, is the movie a good way to learn about the famous leader’s life?
Verne Harris, Director of Research and Archive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, who assisted with some of the research for the movie, said it contains several historical inaccuracies, but overall it is on point.
“I think it offers a powerful and authentic representation of Mr Mandela’s (Madiba’s) life and times,” he told FOX411 in an email. “But it is not a documentary, so unavoidably the demands of poetic license results in occlusions, the collapsing of several events into one, etc.”
Still, history buffs may take issue with several scenes, he noted. He said those instances include when Mandela is depicted as captured on his own in 1962 when in fact he was travelling with Cecil Williams.
He added that in the film Mandela addresses the nation after the Boipatong massacre rather than after Chris Hani’s assassination.
Still, overall, the film was given a thumbs up from the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Board of Trustees member Tokyo Sexwale told guests at a screening that the film is a touching tribute to Mandela.
“Madiba is often described as the person who emerged from prison, but the movie equally represents the man who was shaped by indigenous value systems while growing up in Qunu – that part of his legacy and persona comes though very strong in the movie.”
And even with a handful of inaccuracies, the movie shows a balanced portrayal of Mandela, Thorp said.
“Idris [Elba, who plays Mandela,] has spoken to me extensively about how it included parts of Mandela that were not just placating to the legend. He was a charmer. He was a little bit of a womanizer… He wasn’t a perfect person,” Thorp said. “But he was someone who made strides so it acknowledges both of those things.”
Other films, such as 1997’s “Mandela and de Klerk” and 2009’s “Invictus” previously have centered on Mandela, but the buzz among film experts is that this one may be the most accurate so far, Thorp explained.
“There’s been a lot of portrayals of him—Sydney Poitier, Morgan Freeman—and I think many people would agree that this is one of the most accurate portrayals. Some people would say it is the most [accurate].”
Plus, at the end of the day, it may be worth seeing because it is a good film, Thorp said. After all, it got a thumbs up from Mandela’s family.
“Zindzi loves the film. She loves Idris and she calls him ‘an honorary Mandela.’”
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is now playing in select theaters.
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S. Korea announces expanded air defense zone
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Sunday announced an expansion of its air defense zone following China’s move to establish a similar zone that has been criticized by Beijing’s neighbors.South Korea
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5:37 a.m. EST December 8, 2013
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Sunday announced an expansion of its air defense zone following China’s move to establish a similar zone that has been criticized by Beijing’s neighbors.
South Korea earlier requested China to redraw its air defense zone because it partly overlaps with South Korea’s but Beijing rejected it. The U.S., Japan and other countries have also protested the Chinese zone.
Beijing said last month that all aircraft entering the vast area must identify themselves and follow Chinese instructions. U.S., Japan and South Korea have flown military reconnaissance flights in the area without notifying China in defiance of Beijing’s announcement.
The new South Korean zone includes a submerged reef that is South Korean-controlled but also claimed by China and enlarged parts of airspace that is also covered by the Chinese zone. The new South Korean zone also overlaps with parts of the Japanese air defense zone.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters that South Korea will discuss with neighboring countries steps to prevent accidental clashes within the South Korean zone. He said that South Korea’s zone did not infringe upon any country’s airspace and that Seoul had sufficiently explained its action to neighboring countries ahead of Sunday’s announcement.
The U.S. State Department supported South Korea, saying its approach “avoids confusion for, or threats to, civilian airlines.”
“The United States has been and will remain in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region to ensure their actions contribute to greater stability, predictability, and consistency with international practices,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Inspectors from the UN’s nuclear agency are visiting Iran’s Arak planned heavy water reactor for the first time in more than two years.
The visit comes two weeks after a six-month interim agreement was reached between Iran and world powers over the country’s nuclear programme.
Iran has agreed to curb some nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief.
It has promised not to commission or fuel the Arak reactor during that time.
The Arak plant is significant because if completed, it could open the way for the reprocessing of plutonium – a potential step towards a nuclear weapon.
Some world powers say Iran’s uranium enrichment programme is geared towards making a weapon, but Tehran insists it only wants to be able to produce nuclear energy.
The inspection is the first real test of Iran’s commitment to the interim agreement it signed with world powers two weeks ago, says the BBC’s James Reynolds in neighbouring Turkey.
The one-day inspection is expected to be competed by Sunday afternoon, following which the inspectors will return to their headquarters in Austria, an Iranian atomic energy organisation spokesman said, according to Fars news agency.
Under the international deal, Iran will receive some $7bn (£4.3bn) in sanctions relief while talks continue to find a more permanent agreement.
(Reuters) – From political posters to bottles of wine and kitchen aprons, the face and name of Nelson Mandela are a potent commercial and political brand in South Africa. Little wonder it’s so sought after – and the source of occasional squabbles.
(Reuters) – From political posters to bottles of wine and kitchen aprons, the face and name of Nelson Mandela are a potent commercial and political brand in South Africa. Little wonder it’s so sought after – and the source of occasional squabbles.
Following his death on Thursday at the age of 95, the scramble for control of the Mandela legacy – both financial and moral – will involve his family, the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and the Nelson Mandela Foundation he set up to protect his broader message.
At stake is the inheritance that will go to Mandela’s more than 30 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom already use the Mandela name and image to market everything from clothing to reality TV.
There are also the Mandela brands and trademarks that help fund the Foundation. And for the ANC, Mandela’s reputation as an anti-apartheid hero is worth votes for years to come.
There are no available public figures of Mandela’s wealth, making it difficult to put an exact value on his estate, which includes an upscale house in Johannesburg, a modest dwelling in his rural Eastern Cape home province, and royalties from book sales including his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”.
Several South African branding experts have declined to estimate the annual value of Mandela’s trademark and brands.
Maintaining control over the copyrights is already a difficult business; protecting the Mandela brand may be even harder now that he is gone.
“The beauty of the Nelson Mandela brand is that it has been lived by him exactly as it has been presented by him. His behavior is his brand,” said Jeremy Sampson, the executive chairman of Interbrand Sampson de Villiers.
“In the rush to commercialize it, we run the risk of watering down or destroying the good that the brand stood for purely with the crassness of finance,” he added.
Mandela divided the management of his legacy between a series of trusts to handle his finances and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which serves as custodian of his wider moral legacy.
In total, he set up about two dozen trusts, mostly to pay for the education of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
It hasn’t all been straight forward.
A legal tussle between Mandela’s long-time friend, lawyer George Bizos, and two of Mandela’s daughters became public this year as the daughters sought to have Bizos and other Mandela associates ousted from companies set up to sell his handprint for use in art and memorabilia.
According to an affidavit filed by Bizos and the others, the two daughters, Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Dlamini, had been trying to gain control of the main Mandela Trust since 2005 and eventually became trustees without Mandela’s knowledge.
Mandela became angry when he found out what the daughters had done, Bizos and the other associates said in the affidavit.
“Mr. Mandela was shocked and used a common expression ‘Good Lord!’ He was most infuriated and wanted to know what had happened.”
A portion of the revenue from the Foundation’s 46664 clothing line – named after Mandela’s prisoner number on Robben Island – and the artworks also goes to pay for family members’ education, according to Bizos.
“The trust has adopted the procedure of requiring the applicant for money to furnish an invoice,” Bizos said, adding that every request accompanied by proper paperwork has been granted.
But some family members have asked for a lump sum payment of 12 million rand ($1.2 million), he added.
Such demands fuel the notion, widely held in South Africa, that some of Mandela’s children have exploited their father. Makaziwe, Mandela’s eldest daughter, bristles at that.
“This is what we are, in a sense, entitled to, that my father worked for, and he did it with his own hands to create something for the welfare and upkeep of himself and his children,” she told the Financial Times in April.
“If everybody wants a little bit of the Madiba magic, why is it so sacrilegious for the rightful owners … to use the Madiba magic?” she said, referring to her father by his clan name.
MARKETING A MEMORY
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which runs the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, was set up as the official custodian of Brand Mandela. It owns more than a dozen copyrights and trademarks for Mandela, which it uses for fundraising and charitable works.
As well as the “46664″ number, its copyrights include the “Nelson Mandela” name, the clan name “Madiba” by which he is widely known, and “Rolihlahla”, which was Mandela’s given name.
Income those brands generate – “46664″ runs as a charity that sells wristbands and mobile phone starter packs, for instance – helps pay for the running of the Foundation’s Centre of Memory, which is the main research and archive center for Mandela, and which often spoke on his behalf as his health faded.
In all, the foundation had net income of 22 million rand ($2.2 million) in 2012 and assets of 290 million rand. In 2011 net income totaled 33 million rand and assets came to 262 million.
It paid Mandela 2.8 million rand in 2011 and 2.9 million rand last year for the book it published with his help called “Conversations with Myself,” which was a follow-up to his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”
“We do not commercialize our trademarks, however we do undertake publications like ‘Conversations with Myself’ … for educational purposes,” said Heather Henriques, intellectual property and governance manager at the Centre of Memory.
Separately, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has rights to use the Mandela name for fundraising. Between 1995 and 2012 the fund brought in 1.2 billion rand in income and paid out 462 million rand in grants.
“NOT LIKE COCA-COLA”
But not everything that uses Mandela’s name was sanctioned by him.
There are at least 40 companies officially registered with the South African government that use the Mandela name. The companies appear to have no link to either Nelson Mandela, any of his relatives or any geographic area that has the Mandela name. The list includes the Gandhi-Mandela Nursing Academy, Mandela Truck Shuttle Services, Mama Mandela Marketing Company, Thanks Mandela Toiletries and Mandela’s Shed, a restaurant.
The “Madiba” name has been used by more than 140 registered companies, including Madiba Truck Stop, Madiba Wines, Madiba’s Driving School, Madiba Chickens, Madiba Cash and Madiba Bottle Store.
The Foundation may own the website “nelsonmandela.org”, but “mandela.org” belongs to a Brazilian, who told Reuters he is using it for a personal project, which is a tool for computers.
There are also regularly scams where fake charities use Mandela’s name to raise funds. The South African government in mid-2013 issued a statement warning people not to be duped by such groups.
Against all this, the Mandela Foundation picks its battles with care, only rarely suing firms that use his name of image.
“The brand Nelson Mandela is not like the brand Coca-Cola. It’s huge, it’s complex, there are many sub-brands within that brand. We implement protections in a relatively small space,” said Verne Harris, the director and archivist at the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“Madiba has given permission for his name to be used by close to 50 institutions around the world. Only in the last decade there was a system put in place for managing that and a set of criteria applied and then a code of conduct developed for those institutions to subscribe to,” Harris said.
Because copyrights are owned by the person who creates the work – and not the subject – copyright law does not prevent the depiction of Mandela’s image on T-shirts or other items, said Likonelo Magagula, an intellectual property attorney at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Johannesburg.
Trademark lawyers also say there is little to stop family members using the Mandela name, as long as they link the name to themselves and not exclusively to Nelson Mandela.
Makaziwe and one of her daughters have launched a “House of Mandela” range of wines, even if Mandela himself once said he did not want to be associated with alcohol or tobacco.
Some of his grandchildren have started a line of caps and sweatshirts that feature his image under the brand “Long Walk to Freedom,” borrowed from the title of his autobiography, while two of his U.S.-based granddaughters starred in a reality television show called “Being Mandela.”
“BIGGER THAN THE ANC”
The other group keen to use Mandela’s image is the ruling African National Congress.
After Mandela was imprisoned in 1964, the ANC made a conscious decision to use him and his young wife Winnie as symbols of the struggle against the racist government – the first time the party had chosen to elevate the individual above the collective.
When Mandela walked out of prison in 1990, he became a figure of reconciliation, calming the white minority who had been told for years he was the terrorist face of the “swart gevaar”, or “black danger”.
Today the ANC needs that magic more than ever.
“The ANC made the brand and the brand became bigger than the ANC,” author and political analyst William Gumede said.
“Unfortunately, a lot of rank-and-file ANC leaders right now see Mandela as their own, rather than as belonging to the whole of South Africa and the broader world.”
When President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela at his Johannesburg home in April, some in the Mandela family accused the current president of manipulating a frail old man to shore up his own battered image.
Makaziwe called news footage from that visit showing her father resting his head against a pillow and staring vacantly as Zuma grinned beside him “undignified and in bad taste”.
The ANC defended the visit. Mandela “belongs to the ANC first and then to the whole country,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu told South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper.
Even the opposition Democratic Alliance, still seen by many as a party of white privilege, has laid claim to his legacy, using his picture in campaign material to the outrage of ANC members. With a general election next year, both parties are likely to work hard to capture a slice of the ‘Mandela magic’.
“We may be exposed to the sordid spectacle of different political parties turning Mandela into a prop,” said Aubrey Matshiqi, a political analyst at the Helen Suzman Foundation, a public interest think tank.
“Turning him into a political commodity from which they can profit – that would be the worst insult, especially if political parties attach his legacy to lies that they want to tell the electorate to get votes.”
(Additional reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Simon Robinson and Anna Willard)
(This story was refiled to fix grammar in the first paragraph)
WACO, Texas – Turn out the lights, the fiesta is just getting started for No. 9 Baylor.
These Bears are headed to a BCS game as the Big 12 champion, making a reality out of the goal that seemed so far out of reach when Art Briles became their coach six years ago.
“That’s what hit me,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “This is where it is. This is where that vision was.”
In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after Oklahoma State’s loss, Petty threw for 287 yards with touchdown passes on the first drives after halftime and the Bears beat No. 23 Texas, 30-10, on Saturday in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium after 64 seasons.
“It’s a defining moment for our program,” Briles said, adding he hopes they can repeat it multiple times.
“We always believed with him,” big offensive guard Cyril Richardson said. “We weren’t going to disappoint him.”
The Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who never even had a winning record in the Big 12 before Briles arrived, have the first 11-win season in school history and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl. That is the reward for their first outright title in any league since winning the Southwest Conference on 1980 when Mike Singletary called Floyd Casey Stadium home.
Antwan Goodley made a nifty one-handed grab on a slant pass for an 11-yard TD, one play after Petty overthrew his wide-open tight end at the goal line. After Texas (8-4, 7-2) went three-and-out, Lache Seastrunk had three consecutive runs for 28 yards and Glasco Martin ran 10 yards to help set up Petty’s 6-yard TD pass to Levi Norwood and a 17-3 lead.
Texas coach Mack Brown made joking references all week about being the only coach in America playing for a conference championship while also shrugging off speculation that he could be replaced.
Well, the intense speculation about Brown’s future is certain to increase now. The regular season is over for the Longhorns without a Big 12 title after losing two of three games — just like the year started before a six-game winning streak.
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“I’m disappointed in the loss, obviously,” said Brown, who didn’t want to talk about his future. ” I told them they played hard enough, played tough enough, but we didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”
Norwood came to the postgame interview wearing a cap that read “RIP Floyd Casey,” and said it was hard to put into words what the final game in the stadium and the Big 12 championship meant.
Ahmad Dixon, the senior safety who grew up in Waco, placed in front of the podium a sign declaring the Bears Big 12 champion. He then told everyone to hold their questions, then reached down and pulled out two bags of Tostitos, the sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl.
“What does this mean to me?” Dixon said repeating a question, hold up the sign as an answer. “That’s about is. … It was all just a dream, and that dream just became a reality.”
Petty finished 21 of 37, with Goodley catching eight of those for 114 yards. Martin rushed for 102 yards with 18-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, one play after officials wiped out K.J. Morton‘s touchdown on a 60-yard interception return when he was penalized for celebrating before getting into the end zone.
Malcolm Brown ran 25 times for 131 yards for the Longhorns. Case McCoy completed only 12 of 34 passes for 54 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown. The score was a 2-yarder to Brown while scrambling on fourth down after the Longhorns took a field goal off the board after a Baylor penalty on the made kick.
About the same time the coin toss was happening at midfield in Waco, No. 18 Oklahoma was wrapping up its 33-24 over No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2), which with convincing victories over both Baylor and Texas last month was in the position to win the Big 12′s guaranteed BCS berth.
Before moving next year into a new $260 million stadium on campus, along busy Interstate 35 and the Brazos River, Baylor had a memorable finish in the final game after 64 seasons at Floyd Casey.
Fans in black, green or gold didn’t even seem to mind the bitter cold — the temperature was 24 degrees at kickoff with the wind chill making it feel much colder. And most stayed around to share in the celebration and a stadium closing ceremony, chanting “Big 12 champs!” and “BCS!” That ceremony ended with representatives from different eras in Baylor history turning over one of the eight light standards in the stadium. The last was Briles.
“It was emotional for everybody,” Norwood said. “Everybody knew it was there, whether it was outright or a share. We wanted to be Big 12 champs.”
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Ortiz, speaking in an interview with WEEI Radio in Boston, said the Yankees lost “the face” of the team when they failed to re-sign the free agent second baseman, who has reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle.
“This guy hurt us,” Ortiz said. “He is the guy that, you’re never going to forget about him because he puts up some monster numbers. He puts up some monster numbers. Now let’s see how everything goes with him on the West Coast.”
Ortiz said he wasn’t surprised by the length or amount of the deal. It was the fact the Yankees didn’t retain Cano that caught Ortiz off guard, he said.
“That’s what the players are getting — young, talented players with the skills that he has, that’s what they’re getting,” Ortiz told WEEI Radio. “I couldn’t believe the Yankees let that walk away. He’s the face, as long as he played for the Yankees, he was the face of that ballclub. He was backing up everybody.”
According to ESPN sources, Cano, 31, will return to Seattle on Sunday before undergoing a physical Monday to complete what would be the third-largest contract in baseball history, tied with the one Albert Pujols signed with Los Angeles Angels three years ago.
Future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., the longtime former face of the Mariners, said he was optimistic signing Cano could lead to a progression of higher-tier additions for the team.
“It can happen,” Griffey said, according to The Seattle Times. “I hope it does. We’ve struggled as a whole getting people to come there, hopefully this is an eye opener to get guys to come here in their prime and start changing the way things have been.”
Ortiz called Cano’s deal “well deserved.”
“I’m telling you, I knew he was going to get something around that because he’s one of the best players in the game right now and that’s where the best players are at,” Ortiz said. “The way he makes the game look, it’s ridiculous. It’s just impossible.
“He makes the game look so easy. … Now, we’re not going to be able to see him that much, thank God. He’s going to the West Coast. Wishing him the best. He’s a good friend of mine, and like I said, well deserved.”